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Last Updated : Apr 10, 2019 08:55 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Are Bollywood films beginning to saturate Chinese market? Andhadhun's business says otherwise

Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer Andhadhun, which released in China as 'Piano Player', is likely to hit the Rs 200 crore target in the neighboring nation.

Maryam Farooqui @farooqui_maryam

A recent report by Maoyan, the Chinese ticketing and box-office data platform, said that Bollywood films are beginning to saturate the Chinese market. However, the box office collection of the recently released Andhahdhun says otherwise.

Hitting the Chinese theatres on April 3 as Piano Player, the Ayushmann Khurrana-film minted over Rs 72 crore in four days. The movie sprung a surprise with its weekday performance in the neighbouring nation and scored a century in six days of its release in the country.

The film continues to shine at the ticket counters despite competition from Hollywood biggie Shazam. Andhahdhun aka Piano Player currently ranks number one in China with a business of Rs 115 crore.

According to film trade analyst and editor of Complete Cinema, a film trade magazine, Atul Mohan, the Sriram Raghavan-directorial will hit the Rs 200 crore target in China.

However, ask him whether there is audience fatigue for Indian films in the Chinese market, as the report titled ‘China Theatrical Market Report’ claims, Mohan said, “We have just started exploring the market and it is too early to say that the Chinese audience is bored of Indian films. Nowadays, it is very easy to know the fate of the film in each country."

"So, when Thugs of Hindostan released and bombed in India people came to know that it is a huge disaster and that affected Thugs of Hindostan in China as well. Also, the Chinese audience gets to see films like Thugs of Hindostan many times a year. There was no novelty. The fantasy and big spectacles are a routine fare there. Even their medium budget movies are bigger than what we make in India,” he added. 

The report cites examples of films like Thugs of Hindostan, that earned Rs 42.21 crore (41 million yuan), and 102 Not Out, which was the least earning film in China with collection of Rs 30 crore (30 million yuan) to conclude that the returns for Indian films could come down in the coming years.

However, it also pointed out that in 2018, average box-office earnings for Indian films was still higher than the average for 2016, the year before Dangal became a mega-hit and opened the Chinese market for Indian films.

“We have a very big market opening its arms for us and we are exploring it. Even though the process is longer than needed, over time, it will also come down. We might have day and date release in China as well. We should make the best of this opportunity,” said Mohan.

It would be fair to say that if China is an important market for the Indian film industry, Indian films also hold significant importance for the Chinese audience. This is because imported films are an important factor in the Chinese movie business.

“In the last four-five years, the screen count in China has gone up 4-5 times of what India has today. However, exponential growth in cinema halls needs to be complemented by growth in content.  As local production may not be enough for all the cinema halls, we are seeing more number of Indian films releasing in China,” explained Mohan.

Last year, growth for the Chinese film market was slower at nine percent while it expanded at 13.5 percent in 2017.

The number of new screen openings was also marginally down as 9,303 screens were added in 2018, as compared to 9,597 new screens that were put up in 2017.

However, China still remains the world’s second-largest movie market with a screen count of 60,079 and is expected to surpass the US market which remains to be at the top.

But the uneven growth in recent years makes experts unsure of where the Chinese film market is heading.

However, India continues to bet big on China and the next few releases include 2.0 and Sridevi-starrer Mom, which according to Mohan will perform well in China thanks to its content.

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First Published on Apr 10, 2019 08:55 pm
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